With the popularity of bass music growing rapidly each month and some of the freshest new sounds coming from the UK, it was only right that us here at Earmilk caught up with UK bass music dons Star One, who have just released their latest single "Wanted Man", which features UK MC Ghetts, and vocalist Aynzli Jones. We sat down with Adam and Joe to talk about their beginnings in music, which artists they have on their radar and what it takes to be successful in the music game in the modern day.
Earmilk: Hey guys, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what got you guys into music?
Adam Wilson: It came from our dad, who has always been into music whether he was producing or playing in a band, music has always been around us. It was that which really got me into music growing up as teenager in my bedroom and then into the nightclubs when I moved to Manchester to study at University.
Joe Wilson: As Adam mentioned, music has always been in the family from day one. At around 15 I started off dj-ing, mainly just for myself and at yard parties and doing a bit of mc-ing. As my love for beats progressed I started producing my own beats and sounds and I just stuck with it.
EM: How would you describe your music? And who or what influences your sound?
AW: I know it’s cliché to say this, but we take influence from everything we listen to. From old school hip hop producers to the new, lesser known producers and current trends in the music world. There are some people we look up to like Zed Bias for his longevity and status in the game.
JW: We let other people describe our music, although I like things to sound epic!
EM: With you guys being siblings, is there any arguing or falling out when it comes to making a track? Or are you both on the same kind of wavelength?
AW: We’re mainly on the same wavelength, in the sense that if it sounds good then it sounds good! Being brothers we can argue but it’s not really a problem – we’ve been doing that for twenty years!
JW: There have been sometimes I’ve done pretty much a whole tune and you’ve said it’s rubbish – Yeah, that’s annoying.
EM: Your EP Copyright has a real mixture of sounds on there from trap music to drum and bass. Have you always been conscious of being broad with your productions instead of sticking to making just one genre of music?
AW: If I'm listening to my ipod I'll skip between hip-hop, rnb, drum n bass and grime just to name a few, and I think that shows in our productions.
JW: It’s not something we've been conscious of, or tried to do – it’s just something that happens naturally as that’s what we listen to. The way the scene is going at the moment, I think it’s becoming more accepted, although it can throw a few people off.
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EM: Whilst we're on the subject of your EP, the refix of Julio Bashmore's "Au Seve" has amassed close to ten thousand plays and had the support of some of the UK's finest DJ's. What does it feel like to know that you're creating music that tears up dance floors and gets people moving?
AW: Yeah it’s definitely a good feeling! Having the co-sign from Zed Bias on that one felt good, as like we said earlier, he is one of our main inspirations. That track happened so quickly, it started off as a mash up putting the Tempa T "Next Hype" acapella over the original sped up "Au Seve" beat then we thought – 'actually lets grime the whole thing up a bit'. It’s funny, as both that and the Jamie Woon remix have probably been made in the quickest times and are the most popular!
JW: Yeah, when Adam told me Zed was backing the refix, I was gassed. He’s a pioneer in the game, so to have his blessing is a great feeling!
[*side note: 'gassed' is British slang for excited]
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EM: You recently collaborated with grime legend Ghetts on the track "Wanted Man". What was it like working with someone who's so revered by the UK grime scene?
AW: Ghetts is someone who we’ve both been listening to for years so when we heard that he liked the track we were gassed! He’s been in the game for so long and earnt his stripes. We've heard a few cuts off his album and it’s sounding sick! You just have to listen to his new Fire in The Booth to hear how he’s really grown as an artist.
JW: Ghetts is one of the hardest MCs around; he killed it on Wanted Man, as did Aynzli. Working with great vocalists makes our job a lot easier.
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EM: Is there anyone that you guys would really like to work with in the future?
AW: We are already working with some great up and coming vocalists in the form of Max Pahlsson, Lily Caseley and Sarah Lillie. We’re also looking to get in the studio with Aaron X and the lead singer of Extra Curricular soon (look them up!). We would like to work with so many people it’s hard to name just one.
JW: Charles Bradley is one of our favourite artists, he was mind blowing when we saw him at Glastonbury, would love to work with him!
EM: Is there one particular track that you've made that you're incredibly proud of and that you think best shows off what Star One are all about?
AW: It has to be the new track "Wanted Man". It’s a track that so many hours went into and has probably had the best response we've ever had to a track so it feels good that the work has paid off.
JW: I'm proud of everything. Our tracks are all steps along the way of our journey. The progression is there for all to see.
EM: Adam, you go under the alias Phaze One, and have your own radio show on Deja Vu FM as well as running a nightclub night called BPM. Could you tell us a little bit about these and what kind of music you spin?
AW: BPM was a club night I started in 2009 along with a few friends whilst I was at Uni, as there wasn’t really a night pushing Grime and UK Funky. As the others left Manchester it was only T Dot and I left in Manchester so we brought Madam X and DJ Darka into the fold as we all had the same music tastes. From then it has grown from strength to strength and now we are set up as a record label and about to put out the first release from a Mancunian producer by the name of GS One (check him out, his EP is sick!). The club night runs monthly at a venue called 'The Roadhouse' although I don't have much involvement with the events much anymore as I'm based in London now.
AW: As for Deja Vu, I've done that for almost two years now and before that I was on student radio. The aim is to showcase new artists and sounds from the UK scene. I like to showcase upcoming artists mainly, new sounds, new genres is what excites me although I have a section called ‘Old Skool vs New School’ where I mix it up with classics as well.
EM: Can you tell us some of you favourite up and coming artists from the UK or further afield?
AW: We wouldn't be working with the BPM producers if they weren't all dope! So look out for T Vicious, Philly & Jazz and Dark0. Other newcomers include De$ignated who have been generating a buzz for a while and it's only a matter of time before they breakthrough. There is a producer called Conducta from Bristol who is making some crazy garage influenced beats and also a grime producer called Ghost who makes some real emotional grime tracks which there is definitely a lack of.
EM: Have you got any tips for any of our readers that are aspiring producers?
AW: The game is kind of two tiered these days. You need to have great music plus a way to promote yourself. The first thing to do is perfect your craft! You will need to spend a lot of time locked in front of a computer screen. On a positive note, with YouTube tutorials you can learn everything from your bedroom. Then when you have a product you need to break through the pack of hundreds of other producers out there. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get even the slightest bit of recognition. Be prepared for a lot of knock backs, no responses to emails you've sent and dealing with DJ egos. Everything takes time, we've been doing this for two and a half years solidly (and many years before on our own paths) and there is still a long way to go. At the end of the day, if you love music and want to do it, then you will find away to get it done.
EM: And finally, have you got any tracks or projects in the pipeline that we should be aware about?
JW: The follow up to "Wanted Man" is nearly ready! We’ve just recorded some live strings for it which was a first for us and gives the track a different feel.
AW: After that we're planning a project working with rappers and MCs, and then possibly another EP, or maybe even an album. Why not? The sky's the limit!
Star One's single "Wanted Man" is out now on Carrot Records and you can pick it up on iTunes. Keep your eyes and ears locked onto Earmilk for the latest tracks from these guys, it's sure to be a great end to the year for them!